Life @ U of T

Introduction

The Four Ways I Manage the Winter Semester

The Four Ways I Manage the Winter Semester

The winter semester is usually when I need to take more time focusing on my health and wellbeing. The short days, the gloomy and fluctuating weather, and simply having hard classes have really taken a toll. My main concerns have been fatigue, lack of motivation due to the gloomy weather, and stress from time management. Here’s how I help with my Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and personal wellness tips to get me through this difficult term.

The unscheduled schedule 

As the semester has picked up, I’m trying my best to schedule my time better to include personal health and academics. My counsellor recently recommended to plan out my day with my health in mind first:

  • Fill in my calendar with the “necessary” things (ex: classes and appointments)
  • Add in my downtime (ex: yoga, meal prep)
  • Lastly, add in study times
agenda with hand holding a pen
I use my morning commute to try to plan the day ahead!

This type of scheduling does require planning almost every hour of the day but gives me a better grasp of how much time I really have. This helps me achieve my goals a bit better and try to stop procrastinating!

Catching up with friends and family 

Whether it’s just making a  phone call or talking before class, spending time with those I care for is beneficial! Although I may not have time to hang out with them as much as I would like, finding these support systems has helped motivate me and create a positive headspace. I’ve also met new people with similar interests through events on campus.

shoes and legs of people lined up in a circle
I got out of my comfort zone and helped a friend out for an engineering spirit week, I met plenty of new people!

Managing my energy levels

The extra fatigue I get from winter makes me want to just have more coffee and hope I can get past my 3 p.m. need for sleep, but I’m trying to find new ways to get me through my classes. I have been making sure that I always have healthy meals that I prepare the night before. I try to integrate around 20 minutes a day of some yoga as well to get a bit of physical exercise in my schedule I also try to get enough sleep every night but that’s definitely something that needs to be worked on a bit more!

black lunchbag slightly open to show a container inside and thermos on the side
I pack my lunch bag completely with food to prepare for a full day

Taking breaks 

Sometimes unproductive days happen, sometimes I accidentally get burnt out despite my best efforts. Thankfully, I have learned that sometimes I just need a day off from school or a day to rethink my needs so I can get back into the swing of things the following day or week. Being forgiving has helped me more than anything else in regaining my motivation.

My tips may not apply to everyone, but sharing them and continuing the discussion about self-care is incredibly important. Personal wellbeing fluctuates over time as our own personal needs change and personal situations arise. We learn new ways to practice self-care that may benefit us more than our old ways. For more study tips to help with motivation, Accessibility Services is hosting a workshop, Checking in with your Goals: Time Management & Procrastination on February 6th. We hope to see you then!

 

1 comment on “The Four Ways I Manage the Winter Semester

  1. These tips are pretty good! I especially appreciate and need to apply the skill of being forgiving to myself when things don’t go as planned. I have a tendency to blame myself for those unproductive days, but honestly speaking, that only leads to increased pressure to be productive which sustains that cycle. Luckily, I have a very kind and supportive group of friends, and more and more I am hearing their kind words in my conscious replacing the negativity. One step at a time, I suppose.

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